Iran sanctions

US does not (yet) withdraw from Iran nuclear deal

President Trump comments on the nuclear deal and calls on US allies to take stronger steps against Iran – after adding further 19 entities to the sanctions list in January 2018.

In October 2017, US President Trump refused to certify Iran’s compliance with the “nuclear deal” – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that entered into force in 2015 between Iran and China, France, Russia, the UK, the US – plus Germany and the EU. The JCPOA provides Iran with relief from US, EU, and UN nuclear-related sanctions in return for the reduction of Iran’s stockpiles of enriched uranium, and limits its uranium-enrichment capacity. 

On January 12, 2018, President Trump released a presidential statement on the deal, adding a further 14 entities to the sanctions list, following five additions by OFAC on January 4. The presidential announcement also states that the US will not (yet) withdraw from the deal but that it will do so unless the its “disastrous flaws” are fixed.

>> View the original OFAC update of January 4, 2018 
>> View the presidential statement of January 12, 2018

The new statement also says that Trump is open to working with the US Congress on bipartisan legislation regarding Iran – provided that any bill include four critical components:

  1. It must demand that Iran allow immediate inspections at all sites requested by international inspectors.
  2. It must ensure that Iran never even comes close to possessing a nuclear weapon.
  3. Unlike the nuclear deal, these provisions must have no expiration date. Trump’s policy is to deny Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon — not just for ten years, but forever. If Iran does not comply with any of these provisions, US nuclear sanctions would automatically resume.
  4. The legislation must explicitly state in United States law — for the first time — that long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs are inseparable, and that Iran’s development and testing of missiles should be subject to severe sanctions.

In his statement, President Trump also calls on US allies to take stronger steps together with the US to confront Iran’s other malign activities. Among other actions, US allies should cut off funding to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, its militant proxies, and anyone else who contributes to Iran’s support for terrorism. They should also: 

  • Designate Hezbollah — in its entirety — as a terrorist organization. 
  • Join the US in constraining Iran’s missile development and stopping its proliferation of missiles, especially to Yemen. 
  • Join the US in countering Iran’s cyber threats and help deter Iran’s aggression against international shipping. 
  • Pressure the Iranian regime to stop violating its citizens’ rights. 
  • Not do business with groups that enrich Iran’s dictatorship or fund the Revolutionary Guard and its terrorist proxies. 

With this statement, the US also confirms it will waive application of certain nuclear sanctions, but only in order to secure its European allies’ agreement to fix the “terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal.” In the absence of such an agreement, the statement makes it very clear that the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal.

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